Will Ted Cruz's 1% Charitable Giving Hurt Him With Tithing Evangelicals?

As the Iowa primary approaches, Ted Cruz is facing criticism from rivals over his lack of tithing as indicated by tax returns for 2007-2010 disclosed when he ran for Senate. The Cruz family reported donations which amounted to about 1% of their income.
Some Christians who have spoken quite favorably of Cruz believe God requires Christians to give 10% to the church. For instance Gateway Church pastor Robert Morris has preached that Christians are cursed if they don’t tithe (see the video at the end of the post) and Gateway Church doesn’t allow non-tithers to volunteer. In late December, Morris attended a meeting in Texas along with other evangelicals for a meet and greet with Cruz, arranged by David Barton, the head of one of Cruz’s Super PACs.

Robert Morris and Ted Cruz Wilks Bros
Robert Morris’ Twitter Feed

Presumably, Cruz would not be allowed to volunteer at Gateway. If he is cursed, as Morris teaches, what kind of curses might Cruz bring to the White House?
To my knowledge, Morris has not endorsed Cruz and I reference his teaching because Cruz’s lack of tithing might matter to evangelicals who believe Morris’ teaching is correct.
Some Christians believe tithing was an Old Testament requirement but that Christians are not under that law. It may be that Cruz’s low level of giving would register but the effect might be less extreme.
Video of Morris describing Ted Cruz:

Robert Morris on the curse of not tithing.

More on tithing. Morris says at 17:14 that non-tithers are arrogant and have opened themselves up to demons.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/UE9wjBKzET0?t=17m14s[/youtube]

Board Members Quit Floundering Teen Mania; Will Gateway Church Continue Support?

World magazine reported on October 17 that half of Teen Mania’s independent board members resigned. I am linking to World’s coverage of TM as an alert to readers that the former high flying ministry is in free fall. TM continues to break commitments and is going deeper into debt to various groups, some of whom are suing.
Top Ten Charities in trouble; note that TM is #5.
I am not sure why anyone would want to be involved with TM after seeing this in 2011:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/OAKGVF3EooA?list=PLDPcYCH6dNUHK5htHOMV5OTqES8u5kUVM[/youtube]
Part two and part three are available on You Tube.
This is required reading as well.
I don’t care how much good TM claims to do (e.g., Acquire the Fire is for the most a big pep rally for God), the mistreatment of teens that is glorified by TM in the msnbc documentary is enough to shut the whole thing down.
Despite light coming to the situation, some groups continue to stand by TM. One such group is Gateway Church and The Kings University.
TKU actually gives academic credit for TM’s Honor Academy. This should be an embarrassment for TKU.
Robert Morris endorses TM, as does K.P. Yohannan.
 
 

Robert Morris' Gateway Church Agrees to Buy Hillcrest Dallas Campus from Jack Graham's Prestonwood Baptist Church

Yesterday, Gateway Church Senior Pastor Robert Morris announced a mega-deal between two megachurches in Dallas, TX.  Robert Morris’ Gateway Church has agreed to acquire Prestonwood Baptist’s Hillcrest campus near I-635 and Hillcrest Road in Dallas. Prestonwood Baptist’s lead pastor is Jack Graham. Officially listed as 6827 Willow Lane, the Hillcrest campus is valued at $20.7 million according to Dallas Central Appraisal District. Morris did not disclose the purchase price.
The video announcement from October 17, 2015 is at the new Dallas.gatewaypeople.com website. You can watch the video at that site. The transcript is below:

Hey everyone.  I have some extremely exciting news for you.  You know we’re always praying about where to open our next campus.  Well I’m going to tell you today.  We are going to open our next campus this spring in Dallas.  In Dallas.  We have been praying about it.  And I wanna tell you how this came about.  Years ago, there was a church, it was called Hillcrest Church and Prestonwood bought that facility in 2011.  And they’ve had a campus there.  But they have felt led to go in a different direction.  And Dr. Graham called me and said, ‘we would like to sell this campus to Gateway Church.’  And Dr. Graham and I are great friends.  We’ve done things here in the city for the Kingdom.  We’ve done things in our nation for the Kingdom.  But I wanna commend Dr. Jack Graham and Prestonwood.  They are so Kingdom minded that when they felt led to go to a different direction, they said, ‘we want Gateway Church to have this campus.’   So we’re in the process right now of buying that campus, 635 and Hillcrest and will open some time this spring.  I’ll let you know when.  But we’re gonna have a campus now in Dallas, Texas.   Thank you Lord.

Earlier this year, Morris, in the 2014 annual report, signaled a move toward North Fort Worth and/or Frisco. With the Hillcrest purchase, Gateway may, like Prestonwood, be moving in a different direction.
GatewayFriscoInitiative
 
The Hillcrest property was first built in 1990, and has over 150,000 square feet with a combined seating capacity of 2,900. Prestonwood paid $18 million for Hillcrest in 2011. At the time, Jack Graham assured his congregation and Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8 news audience that attendance would grow from under 1,000 to over 6,000, and would require 2-3 services per weekend. Apparently, Graham’s attempts to grow the Hillcrest location did not work out.
Gateway’s Lead Executive Senior Pastor Tom Lane has been assigned as the campus pastor for Gateway Dallas.
The Hillcrest Dallas purchase transaction is expected to close December 4, 2015. Gateway will remodel the children’s area, and add a bookstore and café, and plans to launch regular weekend services in March 2016.

Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris Calls Blogs "Satan's Hit List"

On Saturday at Gateway Church, pastor Robert Morris went off on bloggers. Watch:

But, but I have to say this, um, I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list now you know, but here’s what blows me away.
You wouldn’t listen to gossip, but you’ll read it. I mean, I have a friend of mine, that made a comment a while back, and it just blew up on the Internet. It blew up. Like he was “changing” his theological position. And really he was saying, ‘our methods are evolving’ but he had to clarify later, ‘my theological position’s not evolving on this issue, but our methods in dealing with people who are in bondage to sin, those are evolving, we’re trying to learn to deal with people who-who suffer with this’.
But on the Internet, everybody had already judged him. And he’s a pastor and he’s a friend of mine. And what upsets me is Christians read filth on the Internet. And they believe it.
And, I, um, you can’t imagine how many people have told me, that ‘this is true,’ “How ya know it’s true? ‘Read it on the Internet’
Anybody can write on the Internet. And the people who write on the Internet are people who would not have a platform, unless they put my name, or Bill Hybels’ name, or T.D. Jakes’ name in it, they wouldn’t have a platform, if they didn’t put someone’s name who already had a platform. Boy, I’m just fired up, I’m telling ya.

So we know you’re reading Rev. Morris. Now if there is something you think is factually wrong in anything you read here, please don’t hesitate to have one of your people get in touch with me.  Like you, I don’t want people to read filth or untrue info.
 

Citing International Call, Robert Morris Tells Another Gateway Church Crowd He is Cutting Back

On the 13th, Robert Morris told his 10:45 am audience that he is cutting back on his preaching at Gateway to the 4 pm service. In August, he told the 12:30 pm Sunday crowd the same thing. Watch:

Transcript:

You’re not seeing me as much as you used to, live that is. But I wanted to actually explain that to you. And so I’ve told the technological guys to not send this service to the other campuses, to go ahead and play the 4 o’clock service from yesterday at the other campuses right now. I’m doing something a little differently, and I’ve found that if someone just explains it to you then you can say, oh, OK, we get that. For a long time as the church began to grow — I started the church when I was 38 — and we grew and had three services and then four services and then five and then we had six services a weekend. Three on Saturday night and three on Sunday morning. Thomas would lead worship for all those services.  It just got very difficult to preach the same message with the same burden and the same intensity, six times a weekend.  Ya know? And so we began video messages.  And then that led us actually to begin our first extension campus which was North Richland Hills.  Which is completely video messages.  And as we’ve gone along, then we started to say we even we had the uh opened this campus here at Southlake, we said, ya know, Pastor Robert will never preach,this came out of the eldership, no, he’ll preach no more than three times a weekend.  And so even though we had five here I would preach the 4 o’clock and then rotate to the rest of the services.  Uh, but that ‘no more than three’ actually in my mind was at least three.  And again, I started the church when I was 38.  I am now fifty (fake cough) years old (laughter) hu-huh, fifty-four and um,I don’t have the strength I used to have.  I don’t have the energy I used to have.
And then, I’m doing other things, like right now I have a, a book deadline.  I preached last week , during the week for vid- on video for them to show to the largest church in America uh, which is Pastor Craig Groeschel Life Church.  They have about 72,000 in attendance each week. Ya know I’ll speak in a while, I mean I’ve got lots of things on my plate you, you understand that.  And I know that God’s called me to not just be the pastor of Gateway Church, but to somehow affect and change the world.  And uh, ya know, this past Thursday was uh a conference call with Dr. Tony Evans and Dr. Ronnie Floyd who’s the President of the Southern Baptist Convention.  And we’re talking about bringing pastors together, I think I’ve told you this, to bring pastors together next July to have a solemn assembly where we meet in Cowboy Stadium.  We’re asking 75,000 pastors to come together to pray for our nation.  And uh obviously our nation needs prayer (applause).  So, so there is uh a national and international call on my life as well, and I know that.
But the other thing I realized is, is it sometimesI’ll come at 4 o’clock and I’ll preach and I feel like God puts his hand on it.  And it’s got the anointing of the Holy Spirit on it.  I’ll come back then to another service such as maybe let’s say 10:45 and preach and I  think to myself that wasn’t near as good as  yesterday.  I just wasn’t uh as clear uh, I, I didn’t have as much of a burden as I did yesterday.  I kind of left my burden.  I couldn’t get it back.  And so I wanted you to know if you don’t see me live as much as you used to it’s not because I love you less.  I want you to know that.  It’s because I love you more.  And I really wish you’d hear the guy who spoke yesterday at 4 o’clock because he did a much better job, than I did, ya know,  today.  So ya understand what I’m saying?  So I’ll be, you will not see me as much, even at the Southlake Campus as far as live, but you will hear the word.  And we’ve seen this.  Ya know we have five campuses, 24 services a weekend and we’ve seen these extension campuses grow and some of them I’ve never spoken there live.   But we’ve noticed that God’s Word is not limited by whether the person is live there or not.  God’s Word can come through technology just as strongly.  So I just wanted to explain that to you.  So if you want to, if it’s important to you to see me live, uh then come to the 4 o’clock service.  Or Walmart.  I’m at Walmart a lot (laughter) uh those are my okay so.  One of those you’ll see me alright.

I reported on the “solemn assembly” previously.
This post is a follow up on the earlier post where he announced the same news to the 12:30 pm service. It seems odd to me that he waited a month to tell that audience essentially the same thing.
One wonders what happens to his burden when he is preaching at the other churches (e.g., at Bayside Church in FL on Sunday). No wonder he doesn’t have the energy for his church since he has so much on his plate.
Having said all of that, I know it is not my business how elders of Gateway Church want to spend the tithes of the members who are compelled to give.

Citing Mid-Life Crisis and New Focus from God, Robert Morris Will Cut Back Preaching at Gateway Church

Poor Robert Morris. He is getting old and has a hard time preaching the same 35 minute sermon three times in a weekend. Guess we should rename Saturday and Sunday “the weakend.”
Morris began his sermon at the 12:30 Sunday service by confiding with the crowd that he and the elders decided to leave it up to Morris if he will preach at just the 4pm Saturday service and one other or just at 4pm on Saturday. Later in the sermon he confided more that one reason he might not be able to preach on Sunday is because he may be out somewhere else ministering to the Body of Christ. Watch:

 
Transcript:

I uh, actually,  had them, uh not send this service to the other campuses, so I could talk just to  you here at Southlake, for just a few minutes at the 12:30 service.  And the reason I did is because I wanted to explain to you, uh that uh why you’re not seeing me as much in person.  Because I don’t want you to get offended.  Alright, or you’re feelings hurt or feel like uh I, uh Pastor Robert just doesn’t love the 12:30 service, anymore.  He du..  we never see him.  We never see him.  ‘Cept at Walmart ya know, so.  (laughter).
But, uh, as as I’ve gotten older it seems more difficult to do the same message three times a weekend with the same passion, and burden and intensity that I deliver it with the first or second time.  And so I’ve talked with the elders about it.  And there are times when I feel like I at the 4 o’clock service that I uh I don’t mean this in the wrong way but that I hit it out of the park or  I’m clicking on all cylinders.   Ya know, the anointing is strong and God’s saying what He wants to say.  And then I come back to speak again at another service and I just think man, I did a terrible job, I just, ya know,  it wasn’t as good and I wish they had heard the 4 o’clock message because I feel like the anointing was stronger, I feel like God spoke, I feel like I made it more clear; the principles I was trying to impart.  And so the elders and I have talked about it and we decided , ya know uh, we have 24 services a weekend.  Twenty-four at five different campuses.  And I was doing three live at Southlake, um, and so 21 though, would not be live.  I would be on the screen.   And it works for 21 of them.  Ya know.  So we thought, well will it work for 22?  Or 23?  Well, yes, God can still speak and I think you’ve seen that.   And so I kind of make that call every weekend, as to what my schedule is.  If I’m gonna be traveling, speaking to pastors at a conference or something like that.  And, if I feel like, that by using that 4 o’clock service, you’re actually going to get a better  understanding of what the Lord is saying then for me to come back and do it again.   Then I make that call.  So that’s why I wanted you to know.  In other words, you’re not seeing me as much, not because I don’t love you.  But because I do love you.   You understand what I’m saying?  So I’m trying to make the right call.  So uh, please, please, I just wanted to come I said don’t send this one to the other campuses.  Let me speak specifically to the 12:30 service. And I’m gonna do this in ALL of the other services.  Like the 5:45, the 9:00 and the 10:45.  Uh, because it’s the same for all the services at at Gateway.  
We feel like that we’re making a decision that causes, allows me, to continue to do what God has called me to the Body of Christ, but also allows me to continue to serve as the pastor here.  So, that’s that’s why.  Does that make sense to everyone?   So, okay.  So I’m gonna preach live today, but if it’s not as good as yesterday, well y’all just pretend like it is okay?  Like if I say something that’s like remotely funny, just laugh.  Just AHAHAHAHAHAH ya know, so okay?  Make me feel good okay?” 

I don’t understand how that anointing thing works. Some days God zaps you with more and some days less? This sounds like a rationale for wanting to preach less at Gateway and travel more. As he discloses later in the sermon, Morris is having a mid-life crisis. Watch:

Transcript:

“Um, I went through another mid-life crisis.  And uh you know how I am, I’m just very open with you.  In the last few years.  Because I knew that God said to me three major things, to, to, try to help the world. Change the world.  One was to build a very strong, large Apostolic influential church in the world.  That would change the world.  And I know God builds the church but He uses people.  And so from my part, whatever I was to do.  Uh, the other was to be very successful through presenting the Word on television.   And of course, Gateway Church is a very large and Apostolic influence in the Church in the world.  In the whole world.  And our television ministry is, has become very successful and very influential in the Kingdom.  The third, was to write best-selling books.   And it was specifically to write best-selling books because, ya know, if you write a book and, ya know, four people read it, ya know, then you didn’t really change the world.  Let your wife and your kids read it.  So, and I was not and there’s nothing in me that wanted to write best-selling books for the financials.  There was nothing.  Many of you know that I gave away all the royalties to my best book,  uh which has literally been millions of dollars that I’ve never touched.  I never seen.  I’ve given it to the Kingdom.   So, that was never my motivation still not my motivation today when I write books.  My motivation is to change the world.”
“So, I’ve been saying, for the last few years, ‘God (pause) what I do?’  I mean, Gateway is an Apostolic influence in the world.  The television ministry, the books.  What I do?’   And on this sabbatical He spoke.  That’s how fresh this is, what I’m telling you.   He said to me, ‘Son, you have confused goals, with purpose. Yes, you have reached some goals,  but you have not fulfilled your purpose’  And He reminded me years ago, He gave me a statement that I wrote down that was my purpose, here’s,  here’s  my purpose I,  just so you can see it.  It’s to ‘help people to develop an intimate relationship with God’ Now I know that sounds simple but it has to be simple for me to understand it, okay?
But, that’s what gives me joy.  Helping people develop an intimate, not just a relationship with God but an intimate relationship with God.  Because I am just as burdened about the believer in bondage as  I am about the non-believer.  So helping people develop an intimate relationship.  And The Lord said, ‘I wanna give you your focus for the next ten to fifteen years.  I wanna give you your three focuses, like you have your focuses before,  I’m gonna give your focuses.’  Here’s what He told me and I wrote ‘em down, Preaching and teaching God’s Word’ to continue preaching and teaching God’s Word.  I love to preach and teach His Word.  ‘Two, Inspiring pastors and leaders’.  I love to inspire pastor and leaders.   I do lots of pastors’ conferences and things like that.  Uh, that’s that, um,  floats my boat.  Or, um, downloads my app, whatever your  language is (laughter) I don’t even know what that means.  But, um, hopefully that’s not something dirty so I uh just, ‘kay, uh and ‘number three, mentoring the next generation’.   And The Lord has said to me, ‘You ree.. you have the influence now to really mentor and you, you, you got to be a part what I’ve imparted  you to the next generation.   In the next fifteen years this is the focus for you.  Mentoring the next generation.’ “
“Now, so I’ve written down my purpose, and how God wants me to accomplish it in this season.  Again, seasons has can change.  But my purpose….”

Along with the rest of the message, a picture emerges here of a change of expectations at Gateway. It sounds like Morris is going to preach live on Saturdays at 4pm when he is in town. On Sundays, he will be free to travel to other churches and be an elder statesman. He wants to be a pastor to pastors (does that sounds like a former Seattle pastor to anyone?). By making these changes, he will retain the title of pastor (and presumably his salary and benefits) at Gateway but get to expand his horizons as well.
Morris has made a lot of money preaching out of town in addition to whatever he makes at Gateway and at The King’s University. According to the 990 filed by his evangelistic association, he made $324,575 during calendar year 2013. Being more available to the Body of Christ might up that amount. He also gets to use the retreat center whenever he wants.

Robert Morris Announces Solemn Assembly of 75,000 Pastors at Cowboy Stadium in July 2016

Just in time for the GOP and Dem National Conventions, Robert Morris and friends want to get 75,000 pastors in Dallas’ Cowboy Stadium to pray for the nation. Morris announced the big solemn assembly in his Saturday (8/8/15) sermon at the Southlake campus of Gateway Church. Big names involved include Tony Evans, Sam Rodriguez, and Southern Baptist president Ronnie Floyd. Watch:

Transcript:

You know, I was just standing here thinking, I am really, really glad, to be in church.  I’m just, I just, really enjoyed worship.  And I hope you feel the same way.  Um, I will, just to let all of you know, so you can be in prayer and also so I like for you to know things like this because it’s, we feel like at Gateway Church, obviously we’re part of the body of Christ  and um God has given me a role, in the body of Christ as well. So I’m speaking at the Southlake campus on Saturday, uh but on Sunday morning I will be at Oakcliff Bible Fellowship with Dr Tony Evans tomorrow morning or this morning if you’re watching this Sunday morning, I hope you got all that figured out.  Um, and Dr Evans and I have been talking about for a while along with some other pastors that we feel have given us leadership in the body of Christ to help.  Uh Dr Ronnie Floyd, is one of these on the Executive Committee with us who’s President of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Um, Sammy Rodriguez uh who’s the head of uh Hispanic congregations all over the world, over 400, 000 churches.
Uh, we are planning, just so you know, we’ve already got, put the reservations and all.  Next July uh we are calling a solemn assembly and asking 75,000 pastors to join us in Cowboy’s Stadium for a day of prayer for our nation, isn’t that good? (applause)

The national conventions for both parties are also in July. This looks like a perfect occasion to organize for the GOP nominee. The timing makes it seem more like a political event than a prayer meeting. When they are announced, the invited speakers/prayers will make the intentions more clear.

Robert Morris Speaks Conception in Mother's Day Sermon

This weekend, Robert Morris dropped his new book Truly Free at all Gateway Church locations. My understanding is that the book is on “deliverance” or healing illnesses, including mental illness. I intend to scrutinize those sections. This is the book where he claimed to have a “doctorate of literature.”
This is also Mother’s Day weekend. Morris preached a sermon about mothers and ended it with a prayer for women who want a child but have not been able to have one. There are many men and women who loath these days for various reasons and one thing I have learned is that there is almost nothing that makes any of that better other than the next day coming. Because of the sorrow involved, I understand the impulse of a pastor is to do something to demonstrate compassion.
Having said that, I question whether today, or any day, is a good day for this “name it, claim it” intervention.
Morris here (at 1:45) says, “I speak conception”

If you’re desiring, maybe you’re a mother desiring to have another child, that’s fine too.  Or you don’t have a child but if you’re married and you’re desiring to have a child whether it’s another child or a child now would you just stand up.  And ’d like to pray for you.  Would you stand up, just stand up right now at all the campuses.  I know it takes some courage.  I know that and I’m not trying to embarrass you, you know that.  I’m just asking you to respond in faith.  Could we just stretch our hands towards you – if you just look around, again at every campus if you see one of these ladies standing if you’ll just stretch your hands toward them.  Let’s agree in prayer right now.  Hallelujah father, thank you Lord. Lord thank you for these ladies and thank you for the miracles you’ve already performed.  And Lord we know that this desire is not a bad desire, it’s a desire that came from you.  And so Lord I’m asking you right now if there’s anything medically that needs to be healed will you heal it in Jesus’ name.  Lord will you bring healing right now.  And lord I ask you, as scripture says, you opened her womb and she conceived. I’m asking you Lord to open the wombs of these ladies. And I’m asking you Lord to bless them with a full and healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  Lord I ask you in Jesus’ name.  And in Jesus’name, I speak conception, and Lord we thank you and we receive Lord the children are a blessing from the Lord, we receive these as blessings and I bless my sister’s in Christ right now, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

On one level, I enjoy listening to Morris. There usually isn’t much substance, but he is often an entertaining speaker and in this one, he had some good laugh lines. However, I offer this post to get us thinking about offers of healing in the church. In this case, what if a woman didn’t want to stand up? Morris called standing a response “in faith.” Will some women chastise themselves for a lack of faith? What if the reason for infertility is with the woman’s husband? Will Morris save that prayer for Father’s Day? If Morris’ spoken conception doesn’t work for those women standing, then what are we to conclude?
Very interested in reader feedback on this one. Discuss.

Robert Morris: The Yellow One's the Sun

Preachers, think twice before you use other people as illustrations.
Easter Sunday at Gateway Church Robert Morris preached about Jesus as the Son of God (link to the sermon on the Gateway site). He speculated about Jesus and the Father playing catch with the stars and Jesus creating the Earth as his school science project. Apparently Morris delivered the sermon to more than one crowd because the sermon on the website does not appear to be edited. However, in another delivery, Morris added a little joke (apparently a rip-off of Brian Regan) at the expense of the kid in school who isn’t “the brightest kid in class.” Watch:

Now, the depiction of the Trinity is troubling here. Is Jesus God’s little boy?
Readers who have experience with Morris/Gateway: Is it common in sermons to poke fun at less fortunate folks? I don’t want to seem picky but the disabled are stigmatized enough already. I doubt parents of kids with intellectual disabilities saw the humor.
Readers: Am I overreacting or does Rev. Morris owe his audience an apology?

Robert Morris Scrubs Reference to His Doctorate of Literature

Earlier this month, I pointed out that Robert Morris referred to his honorary degree from his own university (The King’s University) as a “doctorate of literature.” This sounds like a real earned doctorate but in his case it is not. Morris has not completed any college degree and has acknowledged using ghostwriters to write his books.
Since that post, Gateway Church’s website has been scrubbed of references to the “doctorate of literature.” For instance, here is the previous church bio, before the post:
RobertMorriswdoctorate
If you go to Morris’ church bio now, you will see that the reference to the doctorate is missing.
Robertmorriswodoctorate
It has disappeared from the Facebook page as well. It does still appear on this Amazon author’s bio as well as a smattering of places around the web. It does not appear on the Gateway website. There has been no comment from Morris or Thomas Nelson just crickets and scrubbing like it was never there.